James Skinner
James Skinner
Company: McDonald's
Fortune 500 Rank: 107

James Skinner's work experience at McDonald's actually sandwiched his career in the armed forces. His first job before joining the military was at a local McDonald's in Iowa.

He spent nearly 10 years serving in the Navy, and during that time, he did two tours in the Gulf of Tonkin during the Vietnam War. After his service he was taking night classes with a buddy and Navy colleague advised Skinner to take a job at McDonald's. So he did -- in 1971, he interviewed for a job as a manager trainee and the rest is history.

James Skinner will be stepping down this summer after 41 years at McDonald's, ceding the position of CEO at the fast food chain to Don Thompson this summer. Skinner has been CEO of McDonald's since 2004.

By Shelley DuBois, writer-reporter - Last updated May 07 2012: 9:53 AM ET